Jack Daniel’s presents Burgerfest returns in early September

The largest burger event in Europe will feature the BBQ Pit Boys

The fifth Jack Daniel’s presents Burgerfest takes place Sept. 10–11 at Výstaviště in Prague's Holešovice district. Some 50 restaurants will have stands, and there will be cooking shows and competitions. In just half a decade, Burgerfest has become the largest event of its kind in Europe.

This year's festival coincides with the 150th anniversary of Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel's, which is the general partner of the festival. They will have their Truck and will be offering prizes that include a trip to the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, for people who follow the clues properly. Harley Davidson will be there as well, with some of its motorbikes. Visitors can compete to win one by kicking a football into a goal, but it isn't as easy as it sounds. Weber is also a partner and will be giving away a grill. For the hungry, there is an eating contest.

Burgers can be good food. “These are gourmet burgers. They are made fresh,” festival organizer Zdeněk Střížek told Prague.TV.

His mission is to show that making burgers is an art form, and that the result shouldn't be a burnt piece of dried out meat but quality cuisine. “The main idea behind Burgerfest is to bring the American lifestyle and show people that burgers do not have to be bad like fast food burgers. … People do it because they love it,” he said.

The festival is also a chance for people to learn more about cooking. “Not everyone does burgers properly,” he said. Chefs can also learn something. “The restaurants can meet each other and talk and share some trends,” he added.

But there do tend to be lines at stands for the most popular eateries. “People have to be patient. It is not possible [to do it faster] even with 10 employees,” he said. For restaurants, the festival is more about showcasing their quality and promoting their name than having a high sales volume.

While it is generally considered American food, it has become popular worldwide and the festival is international. “This year we have restaurants coming from Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden and Italy,” he said, they will be alongside local restaurants. “People are going to have a big choice.”

Střížek runs the burger restaurant Bejzment in Prague 5, but does not see the festival as encouraging competition. He says that the city is big enough for many high-quality burger places to survive.

The BBQ Pit Boys, based in the US, will be back with a cooking show, and they are bringing members not only from the US but also from several of their international chapters in Germany, Holland, Sweden and Austria. The BBQ Pit Boys are famous for their cooking videos on Youtube where that have about 700,000 followers. They will demonstrate techniques and also have a battle between the chapters.

Aside from burgers and other grilled meat, there are vegetarian options and sweets, and a large entertainment program with an Elvis Presley revival band, crossover group Cocotte Minute and standup comedy.

Toymaker Mattel will have a children's zone and Besip will teach road safety. JEEP is also among the festival partners and will offer people a chance to ride.

The festival has a charitable aspect, and last year raised money for the Club for Cystic Fibrosis Patients (Klub nemocných cystickou fibrózou). This year the Rotary Club will have a stand to raise money from cooking. Camera maker Fuji will also donate money from pictures that people have taken, and on Sunday people can have photos taken with the BBQ Pit Boys.

Since it began five years ago with just six restaurants, the festival has grown a lot. Last year some 25,000 people came and consumed 60,000 burgers plus 120 hectoliters of beer and 50 hectoliters of soda.

Jack Daniel’s presents Burgerfest www.burgerfest.cz (ENG)
BBQ Pit Boys www.bbqpitboys.com

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